Posts Tagged 'Dallas Museum of Art'



ARTifacts: Harwood Street Meets Sesame Street

Did you know—or remember—that a few special Sesame Street residents came to the DMA? Bert, Ernie and friends joined the celebration for the new downtown Museum by entertaining our youngest visitors on opening day, January 29, 1984.

Sesame Street characters at the DMA, 1984

Sesame Street characters at the DMA, 1984

Ernie at the DMA, 1984

Ernie at the DMA, 1984

Bert at the DMA, 1984

Bert at the DMA, 1984

Honkers at the DMA, 1984

Honker at the DMA, 1984

Hillary Bober is the digital archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Nothin’ Beats the Cookie Season, and That’s the Truth

It wasn’t enough that I had purchased a flight to Dallas that arrived and departed within the same 24 hours just to see B. J. Novak at the DMA’s Arts & Letters Live event; I knew that if I wanted to thank B. J. Novak properly, I had to do just a bit more.
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As an avid baker, the decision to make him cookies wasn’t a difficult one. After deciding to theme the cookies after stories from his book, I started planning. I spent hours at kitchen stores gathering supplies and ingredients; two days before I left, I started on the big project. With minutes to spare until I had to leave my home in Utah to catch my flight, I finished them. Wrapped securely in bubble wrap and placed in a box fashioned like the book jacket for One More Thing, I lugged them through the airport.
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After a couple of stressful layovers, I was finally in Dallas! At the hotel, I met my friend Cherokee, who traveled from Oklahoma. We made our way to the Museum, even though it was early, Having traveled so far, we didn’t want to take the chance of getting “bad” seats. The entire day, my stomach was in knots, not only at the thought of being in the same room as someone I’ve long admired, but also about how my gift would be received. I remember relaying my story to a few individuals, Before I knew it, pictures were being sent to his publicist and the knots in my stomach got even tighter. When Cherokee and I were let inside the auditorium, we sat up front and center, not thinking it’d get any better.

After a few minutes, a woman with the Museum’s Arts & Letters Live series approached us and asked if we had the cookies. Assuming she wanted to see them, I pulled them out. She kept talking but all I remember were my eyes glazing over when she said, “He wants to invite you backstage.” Nervously, we followed her to a holding room, knocked on the door, and from around the corner came B. J. Novak.

For the next twenty minutes, words like “blown away” and “impressive” escaped his mouth to describe my cookies. I was in awe. He had learned about my travels and went on to ask what I did for a living, why I chose Dallas, and where I learned to bake. B. J. and the other guests in the room were very gracious toward methis fan that I’m sure was coming across as a nervous mess. He indulged my requests for pictures and took many himself. We talked a bit more with him about his career and thanked him for taking time out for us, and then it was time for the event to begin.

We took our seats and B.J. killed it onstage, doing readings and answering questions from the audience. Rounding off this perfect evening, he signed our books and I was sent floating home with a hug and thanks for “making his day.”

At most I wanted him to think the cookies were fun. NEVER did I think they would receive this type of reception. B. J. Novak has inspired a lot of happy memories for me; the projects he’s contributed to have influenced relationships and formed bonds. Most recently, his book has been a light during a difficult time in my life. To borrow his words, I continue to be “blown away” by what happened. I chose Dallas because it was closest, but I see now that I wouldn’t have had this experience if it weren’t for the unbelievably kind staff at the DMA. My sincerest thanks to all involvedit meant more than I could ever put into words.
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Click here to discover where our title inspiration came from.

Jen Jake is a manager at a group home for adults with mental disabilities in Utah and an avid B. J. Novak fan.

Savor the Arts: A Kitchen Adventure

This Friday, cookbook author and professor of comparative literature Dr. Mary Ann Caws will be here to discuss her book The Modern Art Cookbook during our Savor the Arts Late Night event.

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The Modern Art Cookbook is equal parts art historic document and recipe guide, illuminating the relationship between art and food. In preparation for this event, the DMA’s programming team decided to try some recipes from the book to see what they were like (and to test their kitchen skills).

Betsy Glickman, Manager of Adult Programming:
I have always been a fan of the “breakfast for dinner” concept, so I opted to tackle an egg-based dish from the book. Armed with a minimal set of ingredients—and an even more minimal set of cooking skills—I set aside an evening to bring Pablo Picasso’s Spanish Omelette to life in my kitchen. I originally thought the dish would resemble a traditional, half-plate-sized omelette, but as I laid out the ingredients (10 eggs, 4 potatoes, 2 onions, etc.), I realized this was going to be much larger.

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I began by peeling and slicing the potatoes and onions. I then tossed them into a large pan and sautéed them for about 15 minutes. While they were cooking, I beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl.

Once the potatoes and onions were beginning to brown, I drained them on some paper towels to help absorb the excess moisture. I then added them to the salad bowl along with a large helping of salt and pepper.

Next it was time to make the omelette. I pulled out the best nonstick pan I own, added some olive oil and medium heat, and poured in the contents to cook for several minutes.

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As the edges began to firm up, I realized the hardest part of the process was yet to come: I somehow had to flip this thing over. I snagged a plate for assistance, and, in a swift movement, transferred most of the contents to the plate and back into the pan. All in all, I’d give my flip an 8 out of 10.

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I cooked the omelette for another 2-3 minutes. The book instructed to leave the center a little runny, but, unfortunately, I overcooked it a bit. Even so, the end result was quite tasty. Viva el Spanish Omelette!

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Things I learned: It’s difficult to ruin an omelette, but there are endless ways to make it better. In the future, I may try adding tomatoes, peppers, and/or salsa to this recipe.

Stacey Lizotte, Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services:
I decided to make Brecht’s Favorite Potato Bread because I have always been interested in mastering a bread recipe (yeast and rising dough have always been a bit of a mystery to me). This recipe called for one cube of yeast, which I should have researched before picking this recipe. I tried finding a conversion from cubed yeast to dry yeast and was not successful, so I went with one packet of dried yeast for the recipe. Because dry yeast needs to be activated with water, I reduced the amount of oil recommended.

Stacey's Ingredients

Even with that reduction, my dough was very wet. After adding an additional cup of flour it was still not the texture I thought it should be. But having little experience with bread, and thinking that the mashed potatoes probably added moisture, I thought maybe that was how it was supposed to be.

While the dough did rise, as you can see from the photos the dough did not hold its shape once formed into “loafs.”

Stacey's Recipe 4

While the look of the bread left much to be desired, I found the flavor interesting, which I attribute to the lemon zest.

Things I learned: Yeast used to come in cubes. I will add lemon zest to any future bread dough recipes I try.

Liz Menz, Manager of Adult Programming:
The last time we all got together for a cooking blog, I went with soup, so this time I ventured into the realm of desserts. I decided to make Claude Monet’s Almond Cookies. The recipe is much like a shortbread recipe, so there were very few wet ingredients and (something I discovered halfway through) the dough required kneading.

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Combining the flour, confectioner’s sugar, ground almonds and lemon rind into a bowl with the eggs was the easy part. Realizing that the cubed butter was still needed, I figured out that my wooden spoon was not going to cut it, so kneading was the way to go!

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After some work (and one phone call to my mother), I realized I was doing this right, as the dough finally came together. It was on to rolling out the dough and cutting the cookies! I am a less-than-prepared baker and discovered that, in a pinch, a wine bottle doubles well as a rolling pin and wine glasses are the perfect size for cutting!

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After I sprinkled the cut cookies with sugar and sliced almonds, they went into the oven for about 20-25 minutes. They came out golden and yummy! The lemon rind really gave them a great flavor, and I decided that these cookies would be great with a cup of coffee and a book.

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Things I learned: Shortbread-type recipes are harder than they look, but worth it. Lemon rind is a great addition to cookies. Also, thanks Mom.

Don’t forget to join us on Friday as we savor the arts! And, for more fun food-inspired posts, peruse the Culinary Canvas section of our Canvas Blog.


Betsy Glickman is a manager of adult programming at the DMA.
Stacey Lizotte is head of adult programming and multimedia services at the DMA.
Liz Menz is a manager of adult programming at the DMA.

The Luck of the Irish

There will be no pinching in the Museum galleries this St. Patrick’s Day, as the DMA collection has the luck of the Irish and is covered in green. Visit these clover-colored works in the collection for free.

Reagan Duplisea is associate registrar-exhibitions and Kimberly Daniell is the manager of communications and public affairs at the DMA.

Words with Friends (and owls, mohels, etc.)

For the exhibition Never Enough: Recent Acquisitions of Contemporary Art, New York-based artist Darren Bader visited Dallas to help us realize a unique work recently purchased by the DMA. Bader is known for his innovative and unconventional use of materials that push the boundaries of sculpture and activates environments with unexpected pairings and phenomenological experiences.

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For example, in the 2012 exhibition Darren Bader: Images at MoMA PS1, the artist presented a room filled with a newly upholstered couch and several live housecats, all of which were available for adoption by museum visitors. Elsewhere the artist installed a selection of vegetables, each on its own wooden pedestal, that was made into salad for gallery visitors by a museum staffer twice a week. While these works all had a social dimension, for the artist these elements are understood to be sculpture of one form or another, albeit in the most expansive definition of the word.

Bader’s work also frequently employs double-entendres and wordplay, as is readily apparent in the series of rhyming couplets that make up the recent acquisition at the DMA, and which is now on view: obi and/with SCOBY; oak with/and smoke; owl and/with towel; oar with/and store; oil with/and mohel; oat and/with note; orc with/and fork. Generally, when a museum purchases a work it has a set physical form, but in this case the work itself consists solely of the words listed in the title above and the conceptual potential for realizing these couplings. These absurd combinations can be realized in physical space (e.g., placing a rowing oar in the DMA store) or in the form of photographic or video documentation to be displayed in the galleries. Contractual agreements like this have a long history within the canon of conceptual art, including works by Marcel Duchamp, Yves Klein, Hans Haacke (with the aid of dealer Seth Siegelaub), and Andrea Fraser, among others.

As the curator for this exhibition, I was tasked with coordinating and/or sourcing the various elements needed to realize this work, including an obi and SCOBY, owl and towel, and even a mohel (more on that in a later blog post). In order to find an owl, we got in touch with Kathy Rogers from Roger’s Wildlife Rescue down in Hutchins, Texas.

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Kathy and her team run an amazing facility that rescues, rehabilitates and houses hundreds of birds of all varieties. For our project, Kathy had three types of owls available—Barred, Barn and Screech—and ultimately we decided to go with Forest, the Barn Owl. Forest was born in captivity, so he is very comfortable around humans and was more than happy to be filmed by the DMA’s crew.

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Next we had to find a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) to go along with the obi (a traditional Japanese sash used with a kimono) we purchased from eBay. Lucky for us, the wonderful people at Holy Kombucha in Fort Worth were more than willing to provide us with a grade-A large SCOBY. While the SCOBY itself is naturally slimy and smelly, it is probiotic, and when used in kombucha it makes for a very tasty health drink; however, in order to exhibit the SCOBY our Objects Conservator dried it in an oven for several hours until it became a tissue-paper thin wafer.

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For those that are curious, the SCOBY will be on view in the Stoffel Gallery, along with video clips representing other pairings from the Bader piece scattered throughout the galleries (included in free general admission!). We have also staged two small interventions outside the gallery spaces that you might encounter on your next trip to the DMA. So if you find an oar in the DMA store, or oats in the DMA donation box, don’t be alarmed . . . it’s only art.

Gabriel Ritter is The Nancy and Tim Hanley Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the DMA.

What’s in a (middle) name?

In honor of Middle Name Pride Day, we took some time to explore artists in the DMA collection whose middle names were part of their identity and the stories behind them.

John Singleton Copley, Woodbury Langdon and Sarah Sherburne Langdon, 1767, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

John Singleton Copley, Woodbury Langdon and Sarah Sherburne Langdon, 1767, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

Following a long tradition that continues today, many artists’ middle names can be attributed to familial ties. John Singleton Copley’s middle name can be credited to his mother’s maiden name. She was from the County Clare, Ireland, but could trace her ancestors back to Lancashire, England. She was forced to take over her husband’s tobacco shop upon his death shortly after the family emigrated in the early 1700s.

John Wesley Jarvis, Portrait of a Man, c. 1815-1820, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Mrs. Sheridan Thompson

John Wesley Jarvis, Portrait of a Man, c. 1815-1820, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Mrs. Sheridan Thompson

John Wesley Jarvis was named for his uncle John Wesley, founder of the Methodist church. Jarvis was born in his uncle’s homeland of England, but his mariner father moved the family to Philadelphia in the artist’s early years. He eventually became one of the most renowned portrait painters in New York in the early 1800s but strayed from his namesake’s roots with his propensity for flamboyant fashion and alcohol.

Velma Davis Dozier, Rain Forest (pin), 1969, cast gold, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Otis and Velma Dozier

Velma Davis Dozier, Rain Forest (pin), 1969, cast gold, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Otis and Velma Dozier

Also following a tradition that continues today, several female artists in the DMA collection assumed their maiden name as their middle name after their marriages. Velma Davis was a Texas native who studies painting at SMU and then specialized in jewelry making and design while obtaining her master’s degree from Columbia University. She returned to Texas to cofound the Dallas School of Creative Arts in the 1930s, where she met her husband, painting teacher Otis Dozier.

Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, Portrait of a Man in a Blue Suit, 1760s, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Leon A. Harris, Jr.

Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, Portrait of a Man in a Blue Suit, 1760s, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Leon A. Harris, Jr.

Children in Italian families have long been named for saints for whom the parents have a special affinity, as was likely the case with Pompeo Girolamo (“Jerome”) Batoni. The artist clearly also held St. Jerome in high regard, having depicted him at least in three separate works: St. Jerome in the Wilderness, The Last Communion of St. Jerome, and in one of his most famous later paintings, The Marriage of St. Catherine with Sts. Jerome and Lucy. (It is worth noting that Catherine was the name of his first wife; Lucy, the name of his second.)

Henry Ossawa Tanner, Christ and His Mother Studying the Scriptures, c. 1909, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Deaccession Funds

Henry Ossawa Tanner, Christ and His Mother Studying the Scriptures, c. 1909, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Deaccession Funds

Henry Ossawa Tanner’s parents escaped a life of slavery via the Underground Railroad. Benjamin Tucker Tanner, who became an African Methodist Episcopal minister, and his wife Sarah, bestowed the middle name of “Ossawa” upon their son, after Osawatomie – the Kansas town where the infamous abolitionist John Brown launched his anti-slavery campaign.

Norman Bel Geddes and Walter Kidde Sales Co., "Soda King" syphon bottle, designed c. 1935, plastic and chrome, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley

Norman Bel Geddes and Walter Kidde Sales Co., “Soda King” syphon bottle, designed c. 1935, plastic and chrome, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley

American theatre and industrial designer Norman Melancton Geddes adopted the “Bel” middle name after marrying his wife, Helen Belle Schneider in 1916. The couple also passed on their incorporated name to their daughter, actress Barbara Bel Geddes.

Other artists who took pride in their middle name currently on view in the DMA galleries:
John White Alexander
Thomas Hart Benton
Abraham Hendricksz van Beyeren
Richard Parkes Bonington
Alfred Thompson Bricher
Edward Coley Burne-Jones
Frederic Edwin Church
Francis William Edmonds
Laurits Christian Eichner
Jean Alexandre Joseph Falguière
Francesco Salvator Fontebasso
Jesús Guerrero Galván
Charles Sumner Greene
Henry Mather Greene
Charles Webster Hawthorne
René Jules Lalique
John Hugh Le Sage
Pierre Nicolas Legrand
Guillaume Guillon Lethiere
Alfred Henry Maurer
Alfred Jacob Miller
John Nicholas Otar
Charles Willson Peale
Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre
Giulio Cesare Procaccini
William Tylee Ranney
John Gordon Rideout
Leon Polk Smith
Walter Dorwin Teague
Louis Comfort Tiffany
Jean François de Troy
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Karl Emmanuel Martin (Kem) Weber
Adolf Ulric Wertmüller

Reagan Lynette Duplisea is the associate registrar, exhibitions, at the DMA

Having a Ball During DMA Spring Break

What do March Madness and the DMA have in common? If you are thinking that both are in Dallas, you are correct! This year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four and Championship games will be played right here in North Texas. But wait, there is SO much more! Here at the DMA we are celebrating Art Madness, our own version of the beloved tournament. DMA Friends picked an artsy Sweet Sixteen that you don’t need a ticket to enjoy, and we are now down to the Elite Eight. Works of art from the Museum’s collection are competing for your vote to determine which artwork is the ultimate champion. If you haven’t voted yet, it’s not too late to get in on the game.

Since basketball is on the brain here, it seemed only fitting that we spend our spring break elevating our game, and we’ve planned an action-packed week of Art Madness family fun for everyone! Enjoy story time in the galleries, family tours, art-making in the studio, family competitions and more all week long in our art and basketball mash-up. We will even have a real piece of the NCAA here at the Museum! Be sure to score a look at the NCAA Championship trophy in the Center for Creative Connections, on view March 11-16.

Can’t get enough of the Madness? Then take an overtime for fun and join us for a Family Block Party on March 14, when we’ll stay open until 9:00 p.m. Families can sketch in the galleries, take a tour of the Art Madness competitors, do some yoga in the galleries, enjoy a puppet show, design trading cards in the studio and more. Everyone will be a winner!

But don’t take our word for it. We asked a family of museum (and sports) experts to walk us through the spring break starting line-up.

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Little B-ball enjoyed story time in the galleries, hearing favorite stories and looking at one of the Art Madness competitors.

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The entire family used the hands-on activities and games in the Art to Go Family Tote to explore color in some of their favorite paintings.

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With art supplies, a healthy dose of imagination and their competitive streak, the B-ball family worked as a team to design a jersey for their Art Madness MVP in the daily Championship Challenge.

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Mama B-ball thought yoga was very relaxing and loved finding peaceful inspiration in the art around her. (Little B-ball wasn’t quite as meditative.)

b-ball ventriloquist

Daddy B-ball couldn’t help but laugh at ventriloquist Nancy Worcester’s hilarious show in the Horchow Auditorium.

Their final conclusion: “Visiting the DMA is a slam dunk!”

Our analysis? Art + Basketball = A surefire hit for the entire family. We hope to see you here March 11-16!

Amanda Blake is the head of family, access, and school experiences at the DMA.
Leah Hanson is the manager of early learning programs at the DMA.

DMA Red Carpet

When I was younger, I loved watching the Oscars. I stayed up late to watch to the very end, and the next day I talked about the awards and speeches and dresses with my classmates. I no longer have the stamina to watch the entire program (it’s sad, I know). But I always look forward to seeing everyone’s wardrobe, whether I catch them live on the Red Carpet or on the Internet the next day. Below are some fabulous dresses and spectacular accessories from the DMA’s collection, in honor of last night’s beautiful women.

Melissa Gonzales is the C3 gallery manager at the DMA.

Close to Chuck Close: A DMA DIY

After attending the Philip Glass and Tim Fein concert at the Winspear Opera House this past Monday night, I was excited to discover that the DMA’s collection includes a lithograph of the composer, completed by his long-time friend Chuck Close. Close is known for his innovative approaches to representing the human face. All of his works explore this theme, depicting his subjects, generally friends and family members, in intimate, large-scale portraits of their shoulders and head. His portraits begin as photographs, which he then carefully transfers to a canvas. Close has experimented with various techniques and materials, including finger-painting, graphite, conté-crayon, pastel, oil and watercolor.

Chuck Close, Phil/Fingerprint, 1981, lithograph, Dallas Museum of Art, Mr. and Mrs. Jake L. Hamon Fund

Chuck Close, Phil/Fingerprint, 1981, lithograph, Dallas Museum of Art, Mr. and Mrs. Jake L. Hamon Fund, (c) Chuck Close

Over the course of their four-decade-long relationship, Phil has been the subject of many of Close’s most iconic works; in fact, his image has been used more than any other subject. According to an article published by W magazine in 2007, Close estimates that he has repurposed a 1968 photograph of Glass “150 times or something.” Glass returned the favor in 2005, unveiling a striking and beautiful composition entitled “A Musical Portrait of Chuck Close,” intended to encapsulate the artist’s persona and work. The DMA’s Close work is a 50’’ by 38’’ lithograph of a fingerprint Close completed in 1981. I have always admired Chuck Close’s work, and I recently began to explore my own talents for photorealism. I decided to experiment with Close’s gridwork series, having read that Close used this approach “to break things down into a manageable and solvable problem.” For me, as an amateur artist, this statement provided the confidence I needed to begin my project. Follow my progress below to create your own Close-inspired work.

Step 1: Choose a photograph
As mentioned, all of Close’s portraits depict only the subject’s shoulders and head. This tight cropping helps to focus the piece and also encourages closer consideration of the subject’s individual features. I chose the photograph below for my image.
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Step 2: Crop your image
While this project works best with an up-close photograph, do not hesitate to crop or enlarge an existing photograph. Since I knew this artwork would be given as a gift, I chose an image with two subjects, rather than one. After cropping, however, my photograph becomes a manageable project.
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Step 3: Divide your image into a grid
Measure the length of your photograph. You want to make sure that the length and width of the photograph is evenly divisible by the size of each unit. For instance, my photograph is 14.5 cm by 10.5 cm so I chose to use 1/2 cm as my base unit. Use a ruler to divide your photograph into units of equal size. I recommend using a pencil so that you can correct a line if need be; graphite also shows up better than other mediums on glossy photograph paper.

Hint: The larger you make your squares, the less time your project will take. Larger squares will make for a more abstract image and smaller will create a more precise, accurate image.
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Step 4: Transfer your grid to your canvas or paper
To determine the size of your project, first decide on the size of your new base unit. For my project, I transferred the 1/2 cm units from my photograph to 1 cm on my drawing paper. In total, my final project will be approximately 8.5 by 11 inches. Be sure to consider your dimensions carefully, especially if you plan to frame your final composition.
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Step 4: Start your drawing!
I used colored pencil and drawing paper for my project. These materials are easy and user-friendly. If you are familiar with another medium, feel free to use it. After all, Chuck Close likes to experiment, too!

When selecting your colors, you can opt for accuracy or choose a unique theme or palette of your own. This decision may also affect the style of your portrait. You can use the lines to help you create an accurate, photorealistic transfer of your photograph; or you can use a more interpretive, abstract coloration (see Phil above). I chose the latter process. For this process, color each square as an individual unit, independent of the units around it. Don’t worry, it will all add up in the end!

It is easiest to begin in a corner and then work your way up, row by row. You may also want to start with something easy, like the shoulders or clothes before attempting to work on the face. Be patient. You do not want to rush and accidently transfer the wrong section of your photograph. If you get lost, count your square units to get you back on track.
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Step 5: Don’t give up
Depending on the number of squares in your artwork, this may be a long process. My picture took me about 16 hours to complete. If you are frustrated, step away and come back to your work tomorrow.

This activity can also be simplified for children. You can choose a simpler subject and/or divide the paper into larger squares. Either way, it is a good way to encourage “close-looking” and practice experimenting with colors.

Step 6: Step back, appreciate your work, and put a frame on it
Great work! I hope you enjoyed this project. If you made an artwork of your own or used this activity in your classroom, please share your creations with us below! Also, if you have suggestions on how we can improve this project, we would value your feedback.

Hint: Adding a frame or border to your artwork can really enhance the overall effect!

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Hayley Prihoda is the McDermott Education Intern, Gallery and Community Teaching, at the DMA.

Creating Connections with Writer Shay Youngblood

John Thomas Biggers, Starry Crown, 1987, acrylic and mixed media on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Museum League Purchase Fund

John Thomas Biggers, Starry Crown, 1987, acrylic and mixed media on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Museum League Purchase Fund

I began research on John Biggers’ Starry Crown, which is on view in the DMA’s Center for Creative Connections (C3), in order to create interactive elements in the gallery for visitors. When I began, it was clear that the symbols and imagery in the painting hold a lot of information that needed to be unpacked. I found that one of the overriding themes in this piece, and other works by Biggers, is the transfer of knowledge by women across generations. The three figures depicted here reference important women in Biggers’ life, and the string that connects them alludes to the sharing of knowledge, traditions and family history through dialogue.

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As an art educator, I found it important to help visitors connect with this work of art by considering their own similar experiences. I started by posting prompts like “When I was _____ (age), ______ (an important woman in your life) taught me _________.” The responses were inspiring, sweet and at times comical. These snippets were interesting, but what I really wanted was the great stories that these sentences only hinted at.

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For this, the Center for Creative Connections enlisted the help of DMA Writer-in-Residence Shay Youngblood. During Late Nights, Shay interviewed visitors about family traditions and lessons they learned from important women in their lives. We chose a handful of stories from the dozens collected, and then Shay reimagined them through the lens of a creative writer and presented them at the January 2014 Late Night. Visit DMA.mobi and enter stop number 125 to listen to our visitors’ stories.
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Jessica Fuentes is the C3 gallery coordinator at the DMA.


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